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Swadeep Srivastava

The author is founder & Managing Partner of www.indiavirtualhospital.com, personalized e-Valet for Medical Travellers

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Healthcare Startups Revolutionizing Indian Healthcare?

Healthcare Start-ups are bridging the gap between healthcare service providers and end-users through applications and social networks, robots, state-of-the-art technologies and devices

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Indian Healthcare sector is one of the largest sectors contributing to 6% of the country’s GDP. Yet, with 21% of world’s disease burden, the doctor patient ratio being as bad as 1:1700 and out of pocket expenditure as high as 62% of total healthcare spending, the sector is riddled with structural and fundamental challenges. Thus, the task of making quality healthcare services available to all segments of the population is not only a herculean task but offers tremendous potential for long-term patient-centric solutions both in primary and tertiary care treatment through data-driven efficient technologies at the forefront. With the growing healthcare requirements of the country along with huge inaccessibility and unaffordability of healthcare services for the majority of the population, there is dire need for out-of-box, tech-driven, innovative, scalable, low-cost solutions.

The encouraging aspect is that it is already happening with healthcare start-ups disrupting the way healthcare is delivered. Approximately over 300 start-ups emerged in the healthcare sector in the year 2015 only. Whether it is the operating model or areas of drug delivery or medical equipment inventions, innovative and young start-ups are slowly but steadily catching the imagination of the sector with differentiated product offerings and sustainable business models. According to the NASSCOM Startup Ecosystem Report 2015, India serves as the fastest growing startup-base worldwide and 6-8% of the recent B2C startups in India have been in the health-tech sector. A joint study by FICCI and KPMG in India titled, 'Indian healthcare start-ups’ says, “Entrepreneurs have the potential to positively impact the GDP as well as redefine the way in which healthcare is delivered. Healthcare start-ups have transformed the sector by offering hospital management systems, doctor delivery, delivery of medicines and home healthcare services. They have been successful in making healthcare services affordable and accessible to people through innovative use of technology”.

From online platforms for health devices and other healthcare products to helping users find a doctor and book an appointment to telemedicine and having applications that help a user manager diseases to self care services, home healthcare and much more, start-ups are bridging the gap between healthcare service providers and end-users through applications and social networks, robots and state-of-the-art technology and devices. For instance, Jeevanti Hospital with its no-frills model is addressing a clear gap that exists between high-end tertiary hospitals, government hospitals and stand alone single-doctor-managed private nursing homes. It plans to setup a chain of 50-bed secondary care multi-speciality hospitals in Maharashtra and Gujarat and has already rolled out two hospitals in suburban Mumbai. Similarly, Bangalore-based Vaatsalya Healthcare Solutions runs low-cost primary and secondary care hospital chain in tier II and III towns to provide access to quality healthcare services. Likewise, Noida-based start-up, Healthcare at Home India offer home healthcare services in oncology, pulmonology, post-operative care, critical care and palliative care. It also offers services like maternity and elderly care, as well as post-surgical care and intensive care unit services.

Employing state-of-art-technology, there are start-ups like CrediHealth which is into second opinion; Sugivisor, which assists people in choosing the right hospital and doctor for surgeries by streamlining the entire process; IndiaVirtualHospital.com, which caters to each & every need of a domestic and international medical traveler coming to India, from the diagnosis stage to right doctor, hospital, visa, Forex, accommodation, food, interpreter, tourism and much more; Daily Rounds, a mobile app that compiles case studies and quizzes for doctors medical information; Celes Care, a virtual health clinic for women and provides online consultation over chat, voice and video; Konsult, a telemedicine start up into the space of patient-not-present offering medical follow-ups that can be done remotely without the patient being physically present; Maya, which helps women track their menstrual cycles, related symptoms and other vital health information and gives them valuable insights based on the tracked data; Affordplan, it allows people to save on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, as per their chosen plan, and then make regular payments either by online transfer. These are some of the successful names and the list is ever-increasing with each passing financial quarter.

Though, it would not be wrong to say that procuring funds is one of the biggest obstacles of any healthcare start-ups. A young healthcare start-up may face huge hurdle of early stage funding coupled with usually long lead times in the health sector, which poses significant challenge in attracting investors.

However, healthcare start ups have now upped the game and going beyond the discovery and aggregation platforms to emerging technologies and innovations in areas like preventive care, low cost medical devices, community-owned health kiosks, data analytics, drugs etc. Looking at the dynamic scenario, healthcare start ups are going to play a major role towards improving healthcare services in the country.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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